Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tablecloth Thursday

Wow, Thursday again already? Jack and I went to a HUGE kids consignment sale this morning, and as a treat for not acting like a wild thing while we were there, we went to the park afterwards. There was a toddler there having a gigantic temper tantrum, and Jack very seriously asked me, "What's wrong with that baby?" I really had to chuckle because this is the kid who does the same thing several times a day. LOL

I tried to choose a few cloths this week that illustrate those burning questions everyone asks me about: stain removal and cutting. I found this huge cloth wadded up in a box at a flea market for a dollar. It was really dirty and smelly, but I am not at all phased by that. My general stain removal arsenal includes: spray and wash, liquid oxiclean (in the blue bottle), dawn dish soap, powdered oxiclean, Clorox bleach pens, lemon juice, and sunshine.
(Sweet little bridge tablecloth, used for St Patrick's Day.) I know I say this a lot, BUT, it is worth repeating, do not get crazy trying to remove stains from a cloth that is really precious to you. Washing, drying, bleaching, etc. can cause holes. Stains, holes, etc. are part of the cloth's history, in some cases more than 60 years worth of Sunday dinners, and I am totally ok with those imperfections.

Usually I start cleaning a cloth by just spraying it with the Spray N' Wash, letting it sit and then laundering in cold water. If I do not get decent results that way, then I move onto boiling them in Oxiclean. I have a pot I use just for that, and I just let them simmer on the stove until they start looking clean. As a last resort, I use the bleach pen. If the spots are particularly greasy looking, Dawn works really well. I line them dry as much as possible, in the winter I hang them in my laundry room.

If a cloth is really precious or rare, then I try the old lemon juice and water trick and just keep letting it sit in the bright sunshine (re wet it every time it dries). You would be amazed at what stains just the sun alone will bleach out.
I also picked this cloth up for a dollar because the dealer had been unable to get it clean. I spot tested it with the bleach pen, and the stain wouldn't budge. Since it was a brownish stain, I pulled out the rust remover. (I like Whink.) Sure enough, the stain that covered more than 75% of the cloth was rust. The rust remover removed it completely within a few minutes.
I picked up this sweet fruit cloth 2 weeks ago. I know that it is really the "in" thing at the moment to cut up vintage tablecloths, but honestly, even seeing that makes me feel a little weak in the knees. (Particularly when I see the valuable or rare cloths being cut up, I have to click away quickly and bite my tongue.)

I will only cut into a cloth as a very last resort, and I have only done it once before. Sadly, this beauty will be number 2.
I have tried every permutation possible to try and work out how to just cut it into a smaller tablecloth, but there are just so many holes, and so many really, really big holes, that I cannot find a way to salvage it other than cutting it up. I can live with dime sized holes, or even a quarter sized hole or two, but this one has 3 or 4 holes as big as a softball plus a million smaller ones. It's too bad really, but it does happen.

You can see more tablecloths today at Vacuuming in High Heels & Pearls and The Hunt for Vintage and Brenda's Little Cottage . Leave me a note if anyone else has their tablecloth up today and I will get a link to you here!


  1. Gorgeous cloths! Thanks for posting all of your cleaning tips. I know I have a few linens that could benefit from some extra cleaning. I also posted a tablecloth this week.

  2. I know what you mean...Thursday already???

    I laughed at Jack's comment about what is wrong with that little boy....something that one of my kids would say, when they, too, do the very same thing.

    what do you do with all of your tablecloths?

  3. I just posted one of mine!

    You mentioned a product called Winks for rust. What is it and where do I find it? Also, what color are rust stains? Are they yellowish or more red like rust?

    Beautiful cloths! What do you plan to make with your cutter, once your sewing machine is back?

  4. I love getting an upclose view of some of your table cloths. I especially LOVE the pink and red one featured here. I would just die if I could find some similar beauties at a yard sale! Keep sharing pics please!!

  5. I'm with you about cutting up old tablecloths. It hurts but when they are holey I think using their good parts somewhere else is okay. I've seen them combined to make one nice cloth.

  6. Your tablecloths are gorgeous. very cute pictures of your son. My son is 3 he will be 4 in October.
    Have agreat weekend

  7. So so pretty!! I especially like the red, aqua and yellow one. Thanks again for sharing!

  8. Ooooh, I love the pink one. I like your new blog banner. Very lovely!

  9. Anonymous6:51 AM

    Love the red, white and pink one :)

  10. Anonymous11:36 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. I didn't realize you boiled your cloths in the Oxiclean. I'll have to remember that.

    I did use a bleach pen to the vintage apron I asked you about a few weeks ago. I had previously soaked in a hot Oxi bath and it lightened some, but not completely removed. I used the bleach pen and it really took away about 90% of the stain. (If you noticed the middle, Christmas apron in today's post, that's the one.)

    You are a plethora of knowledge. Thank you.

  12. Missed Tablecloth Thursday again. Surely I won't forget next week.

    Those are so, so pretty and thanks for telling us how you clean yours. One of the first times my daughter's boyfriend came to our house, I was boiling old linens on the stove. He still mentions that every now and then.

  13. I admit, I am a cutter upper. Only if they are stained or have holes that I can't get out and I bought them super cheap. I have a few table clothes that no amount of stain could make me cut, but some just beg to be a project. Or, should I say "projik?"

  14. Very lovely tablecloths! I have to admit that I would probably cute one up if I found a pretty one... :)

  15. ooh...i love that third one down the most! nice finds!

    :) D

  16. Anonymous9:47 PM

    I am so glad you posted on how to get stains out of the tableclothes.
    Thanks so much for giving us this information. Also, thanks for including me in your Tablecloth Thursday and I have my tablecloth up on my blog.
    I love Tablecloth Thursday!!!
    :) Bren


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